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William Jefferson D-La case could change bribery laws
NOLA ^ | 11/14/07 | Bill Walsh

Posted on 11/15/2007 4:39:47 AM PST by Libloather

Jefferson case could change bribery laws
Congress moves to redefine 'official acts'
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
By Bill Walsh

WASHINGTON -- Bribery has been around as long as politics, but recent provocative legal challenges have prompted Congress to look at rewriting the laws to spell out more clearly what it means to be on the take.

Bipartisan legislation moving in the Senate would substantially lengthen the list of forbidden favors that could expose a member of Congress to charges of bribery. The move comes as Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, battles federal charges with a defense that his actions on behalf of various businesses were not "official acts" but private deals not covered by the current public corruption statutes.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., author of the bill and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, denied through a spokeswoman that the legislation was aimed at Jefferson, who is accused of taking nearly $400,000 for promoting businesses in western Africa.

"This legislation is not just for federal officials," spokeswoman Erica Cabot said. "Unfortunately, public corruption seems to be running a little rampant these days."

Still, a provision of the bill Leahy wrote with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, seems to take aim directly at Jefferson. It would broaden the definition of "official act" to include virtually any action a member of Congress takes while serving. The definition is critical. Bribery occurs only when a member takes something of value in return for performing an "official act."

The legislation unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 1 and awaits floor action.

Two cases cited

Jefferson has based a major portion of his defense on the vagueness of the current definition.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bribery; jefferson; laws; william
Main Entry: brib·ery
Pronunciation: \ˈbrī-b(ə-)rē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural brib·er·ies
Date: 1549
: the act or practice of giving or taking a bribe

Main Entry: 1bribe
Pronunciation: \ˈbrīb\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, morsel given to a beggar, bribe, from Anglo-French, morsel
Date: 15th century
1 : money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
2 : something that serves to induce or influence

1 posted on 11/15/2007 4:39:48 AM PST by Libloather
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To: Libloather
Yeah, it's REAL complicated.

Consider the fact that it's almost impossible to get a conviction on bribery charges NOW - just wait'll Congress "fixes" it...

2 posted on 11/15/2007 5:44:22 AM PST by an amused spectator (AGW: If you drag a hundred dollar bill through a research lab, you never know what you'll find)
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To: Libloather

If Jefferson walks on this it will destroy what little credibility Congress has left.

3 posted on 11/15/2007 5:46:54 AM PST by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: an amused spectator

This is typical of the liberals mindset -

when the results don’t come out as you want them to, change the rules.

Conservatives play within the rules, and succeed or fail based on how well they play.

4 posted on 11/15/2007 5:46:57 AM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: Libloather

Isn’t there a provision in this bill requiring all refrigerator manufacturers to provide a lock on the freezer compartment?

5 posted on 11/15/2007 5:49:08 AM PST by King of Florida (A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.)
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To: Non-Sequitur

Capone was caught in the IRS trap since he did not report his income from murder, bootlegging, prostitution et al. Rep Jefferson has the same exposure and can be sent to Levinworth too!

6 posted on 11/15/2007 6:20:06 AM PST by Young Werther (Julius Caesar (Quae Cum Ita Sunt. Since these things are so.))
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